Archive & Remove Mail from the Server using Mac Mail Print

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If you are getting messages about your mailbox nearing its quota, you will need to remove some mail from the server. You don’t have to delete old mail though, you can move the mail off the server and on to your local computer.


These are instructions for archiving mail if you use Apple’s Mac Mail to check your email.


Step 1: Determine your current mail settings


You first need to determine if your email client on your computer is configured for IMAP or POP3. The method for archiving mail is different depending on how your mail client is setup.


In Mac Mail, go to Mail > Preferences.

Click Accounts.

In the left column, see if your email account says POP or IMAP under it.

NOTE: You may have multiple accounts listed in your email client. Be sure you’re looking at the one(s) hosted by us, not any third-party email accounts (such as Gmail).


Step 2: Find the appropriate method to remove mail from the server


If you your email account is configured using IMAP, this means you view all of your mail on the server. You will need to create a local data file (PST) on your computer and archive mail off of the server using the instructions below.


If you are using POP3, the method for removing mail from the server will depend on which mail folders you need to empty.

If your Inbox folder is large, you can reduce the amount of days messages are left on the server.

If your Trash folder is large, you can log into webmail and empty your trash.

If you have a large amount of mail in your Sent items or other folders, contact me to discuss your options.


Archive from an IMAP folder


Archiving mail from your IMAP accounts involves creating folders (“mailboxes”) on your local computer to store your older email instead of keeping it all on the server. You will still have access to all your mail, it just will be stored locally instead of on the server.


Below are instructions for creating annual mailboxes for your archived mail, so that it’s easy to find messages by calendar year. You can adapt these instructions to create mailboxes by client, project, or email folder, depending on what makes sense for you.


In Mac Mail, find your oldest messages, so that you know what year you need to start archiving:


In your Inbox, click on the Received column to sort by date. Scroll to the oldest date and make note of the year.


In your Sent Items folder, click on the Received column to sort by date. Scroll to the oldest date and make note of the year.


Whichever has the oldest date is the year you will archive first in the steps below.


To create a mailbox, in Mac Mail, go to Mailbox > New Mailbox.


Type a name for your new mailbox, including the year that you will start archiving. If you have multiple email accounts, We recommend including something to indicate which account it is for. (For example, Archive-2020 or Mexxus-Archive-2020.)


Continue creating mailboxes for each year up to and including the current year.


Your new mailboxes will show up in the left sidebar of the Mail window.


Go folder by folder in your online mailbox, and drag and drop messages to the appropriate local mailboxes that you just created. This will remove the messages from the server.

Check that your email archiving was successful.


Configure POP email settings to leave messages on the server for less time


In Mac Mail, go to Mail > Preferences.

Click Accounts.

In the left column, select the email account you want to modify.

Click Account Information.

Ensure that “Remove copy from server after retrieving a message” is checked.

Set “After one week” from the drop-down list.

Click Next, and then click Done.

Check that your email archiving was successful.

Confirm that your changes were successful


If you are successful in archiving and removing mail, your mailbox will hopefully be below your previous usage amount. To confirm that you’ve archived all the appropriate folders and have actually reduced the size of your mailbox, you can log into webmail to view your email folder sizes on the server.


In your web browser, go to https://yourdomain/webmail (replace your domain with your actual domain name).

Login with your full email address as the username and your email password.

Click your email address in the top-right corner, and select “Manage Disk Usage” from the drop-down menu.


You will see a list of the email folders you have on the server, along with the number of messages in each folder, and how much space they are using on the server. 

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